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Archive for the ‘xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism’ Category

Right-wing spreads false impressions of migrants bringing diseases

Posted by Christopher Coen on February 11, 2015


Right wing politicians and media commentators are helping to carry on a long tradition of falsely blaming immigrants for the spread of diseases in the US. Baseless claims have included the odd assertion that migrants who cross the southwestern border of the United States being a reason in the latest measles outbreak. Not sure why they think illegal aliens are so well paid that they could take their families to Disneyland. Another claim was that unaccompanied migrant children from Central America may be carrying “deadly diseases,” including the Ebola virus, despite the fact that there is no Ebola virus in Central America. In 2006, Pat Buchanan claimed “illegal aliens” were responsible for bedbug infestations in “26 states”, though health officials attributed the increase in bedbugs to widespread use of baits instead of insecticide sprays for pest control. An article at MSNBC has the details:

…There is no evidence to support any of this, but it is part of a long and ugly pattern of demagoguery…

Jamelle Bouie had a great piece a while back highlighting the sad American tradition: Chinese immigrants in 1900 were accused of carrying the bubonic plague; Irish immigrants were accused of bringing cholera to the United States; Italians were blamed for polio; and Jews were blamed for Tuberculosis…

Today, anti-immigrant protesters hold signs asking Washington to “Save our children from diseases,” while right-wing lawmakers fret about disease screening and spread fears of infection and contamination. In doing so, both draw from a long history of ugly nativism and prejudice dressed as concern for public health. And you don’t have to be a liberal, or support immigration reform, to see that it’s a disgrace.

As we’re seeing this week, the regrettable tradition continues… Read more here

The right-wing has also been trying to blame border crossing migrants for diseases eradicated here by vaccines, claiming that the migrants are non-vaccinated. Yet 93 percent of kids in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are vaccinated against measles compared to 92 percent American kids. The Texas Observer has a recent article that does a fact check on the issue:

…Fox News commentator Cal Thomas asks, for example, if “the unaccompanied minors pouring over the border…have brought with them proof of vaccination?” Thomas accuses the border-crossers of harboring vaccine-preventable diseases such as “mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus and diphtheria.”

Before demonizing undocumented children, we should look at the facts: The vast majority of Central Americans are vaccinated against all these diseases. Governments concerned about health, and good parents investing in their kids, have made Central American kids better-vaccinated than Texan kids. We fear them not because they are actually sick, but because of powerful anti-immigration narratives that link foreigners to disease.

Consider, for example, Guatemala. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Guatemalan kids are more likely than Texans to be immunized for most infectious diseases. Guatemala has universal health care. Vaccines are 100 percent funded by the government.

By comparison, one in six kids in Texas is uninsured, and even insured families often must pay for vaccination. That means that many Texas kids fall behind on vaccinations, or miss them altogether when their family can’t afford a doctor’s visit. Other families refuse vaccination.

Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet, a Fox News commentator and former director of the ultra-conservative political group Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, writes in the McAllen Monitor that measles is among the “diseases the United States had controlled or virtually eradicated” that are “carried across the border by this tsunami of illegals.”

Fact check: UNICEF reports that 93 percent of kids in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are vaccinated against measles. That’s better than American kids (92 percent).

Furthermore, it’s absurd to claim that the U.S. has eradicated measles while Central America has not. In fact, measles outbreaks have resurged in some American cities. By contrast, according to the World Health Organization, neither Guatemala nor Honduras has had a reported case of measles since 1990…

When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, the Latino men who came to work rebuilding the city were accused of spreading infectious diseases such as chlamydia and HIV.

The targeting of vulnerable outsiders whenever disease breaks out is even older than this country. Historian Barbara Tuchman has described how outbreaks of plague in Europe would lead to pogroms. The lynchings of Jews, she writes “began in 1348 on the heels of the first plague deaths.” When we blame immigrants for infectious disease, we participate in a nasty—and deadly—old tradition…Read more here

Posted in CDC, health, right-wing, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Conservative Canadian government deemphasizes need and vulnerability in pushing Syrian Muslims to the bottom of the list

Posted by Christopher Coen on December 18, 2014

List-512The conservative-led Canadian federal government has announced that it will be “prioritizing” ethnic and religious minorities while resettling refugees from Syria. Apparently Muslim Syrian refugees will be pushed to the bottom or off the list entirely of refugees to be resettled. The troubling move is being condemned by Canadian Muslim and non-Muslim religious leaders. If adopted, it will contradict with the United Nation policies that include helping “the most vulnerable, no matter their religious back ground”. According to the UN policies, families led by women, torture victims and those with serious medical conditions must be resettled. An article at explains the issue:

OTTAWA – Reports that Canadian government will be prioritizing religious minorities while resettling Syrian refugees has triggered a fierce criticism, accusing it of abandoning thousands of vulnerable Muslim refugees.

“We are deeply troubled by this report and we hope the federal government can provide answers,” Ihsaan Gardee, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) executive director, said in a statement obtained by on Friday, December 12.

“It is inconceivable that our government would suggest implementing a policy that creates a two-tier refugee system in which vulnerable people are assessed based on their personal religious beliefs rather than on their needs.”

Gardee’s comments followed reports that Canada is set to accept more Syrian refugees “only from the religious minorities”.

The new refugees’ trend, if adopted, will contradict with the United Nation policies that include helping “the most vulnerable, no matter their religious back ground”.

Families led by women, torture victims and those with serious medical conditions must be resettled, according to the UN policies.

Although Canada has previously accepted to resettle 1,300 Syrian refugees, only 457 had arrived by mid-November, according to statistics tabled in the House of Commons…

Religious minorities make up an important and vibrant part of Syria’s culture, “and no one is suggesting that non-Muslims should not be protected,” Syrian Canadian Council spokesman Faisal Alazem stated.

“But you treat people based on the need and on the vulnerability…

Critics of the new policies blamed the conservative government for “breaking form the international community”, blowing away the traditions of the European country.

“It’s unprecedented and going in a terrible direction,” agreed Liberal immigration critic John McCallum.

“I find this shocking. To impose a religious filter is just not right.”

A similar criticism was shared by Canadian non-Muslim religious leaders.

“All of our religions teach the fundamental worth of every human being,” reads a forthcoming statement which has already been signed by several concerned faith groups and organizations including the United Church, the Presbyterian World Service and Development, and the Jewish Refugee Action Network.

“A person should never be excluded from refugee protection or resettlement on the basis of his or her religion. Refugees must be selected for resettlement based on need.”… Read more here

Posted in Canadian refugee resettlement pgrm, Islamic, right-wing, Syrian, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Conservative websites spread misinformation on influx of immigrant children

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 3, 2014


The now long ongoing influx of immigrant children across the US southern border – and highly publicized due to an increase in recent months – is now being met by a wave of misinformation spearheaded by conservative websites. The US agency responsible for apprehending the immigrants (ICE and here) and handing them over to the ORR advertised in January for contractors to aid with the transfer following ICE taking these illegal immigrants into custody. Conservative websites have locked on the issue to spread misinformation by falsely claiming that ICE is instead requesting services to transport these immigrants across the border to the US. They also claim that ICE, therefore the Obama administration, had anticipated the influx in January. Instead, the influx has actually been going on for several years with a more recent surge due to drug and gang related violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. An article in the Reno Gazette-Journal looks at this issue:

…The recent wave of publicity concerning the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America being apprehended at the southwest border has unleashed a flood of emails from readers. Many refer, directly or indirectly, to a request for information submitted Jan. 29 by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement on the Federal Business Opportunities website titled “Escort Services for Unaccompanied Alien Children.”

Some have asked if Homeland Security is paying to bring foreign children across the border illegally, based on some conservative websites that misinterpreted the request for information. Infowars, for example, claimed that the Obama administration is using “taxpayer money to escort illegal minors into the United States.”
Other readers asked if the Obama administration placed the advertisement “back in January” and wonder how the administration knew months ago there would be a crisis at the border.

First of all, ICE did not solicit bids for vendors to bring children across the border, as Infowars claimed. The request for information was referring to children who illegally crossed the border and were apprehended by Border Patrol agents. The private escorts would transfer “approximately 65,000” unaccompanied foreign children from Border Patrol facilities to Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement shelters… Read more here

Posted in children, gangs, Guatemalan, ICE, ORR, right-wing, teenagers, Texas, unaccompanied minors, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Students rally in support of refugees in Concord

Posted by Christopher Coen on October 31, 2012

Students from Concord High School rallied yesterday in support of the refugees targeted with abuse last week. An article in the Concord Monitor has the details:

Roughly 50 Concord High School students, faculty and staff rallied yesterday at the home of recent refugee immigrants who received racist letter last week.

We know that Concord is way better than that,” said Hema Gautam, a Concord High senior and one of the rally organizers. “There is so much more love here than hate.”

We are working really, really hard on this point that this is America and there is no discrimination here. We are all human beings. We just want to be equal,” said Raman Sandhu, another senior and event organizer.

The students welcomed the family members, who found two anonymous notes on their door telling them to leave America… Read more here

Posted in hate crimes, Nepali Bhutanese, New Hampshire, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Third case of threatening notes left at refugees’ homes in Concord

Posted by Christopher Coen on October 25, 2012

Another case of insulting notes have been left at the home of another refugee family in Concord. The notes said that the refugee family members are “inconsiderate assholes” who receive everything for free and that they needed help getting kicked out of their apartment. Similar threatening notes were left in August and last September. The refugees also report that groups of young people will sometimes throw stones at them when they turn their backs, and that people sometimes block the doors to the buildings or the landings of the stairways, and tell the immigrants they need to pay $5 or $10 to pass. An article in the Concord Monitor has the story:

Two notes insulting immigrants and refugees were left taped to the door of a family of Bhutanese refugees, the third incident of racist notes on refugee homes in Concord since September 2011…

The notes were left taped to their door in an apartment building on Eastern Avenue – one on Sunday and one on Monday. One was shorter and written in marker; the other filled an 8-by-11-inch white paper, and was written in pen.

They said, among other things, that the Gurung family members are “inconsiderate assholes” who receive everything for free.

Written as if by the Gurungs, one of the notes said, “help us get kicked out of our apartment”…

This is the third incident of racist notes left for recent refugee immigrants to Concord. In September 2011 and August this year, notes appeared written in black marker on several homes in the South End.

The same detective is working on this case, and his initial assessment is that it is not related, said Concord police Lt. Timothy O’Malley…

Other minority residents from the complex warned him groups of young white people will sometimes throw stones at them when their backs are turned, Lal Gurung said.

People also sometimes block the doors to the buildings or the landings of the stairways, and tell the immigrants they need to pay $5 or $10 to pass, he said.

The bullying can be especially prominent in the mornings and afternoons as refugee children go to and from their school bus stop, he said...

Tips on the case can be shared anonymously by calling 226-3100, by visiting the Crimeline website, or by texting TIP234 and sending a message to CRIMES. Read more here

Posted in hate crimes, Nepali Bhutanese, New Hampshire, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Greek Prime Minister calls asylum-seekers a “disease”

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 10, 2012

Greek authorities have detained over 6,000 refugees fleeing murderous dictators in adjacent countries and seeking political asylum in the country. The Greek government is trying to vilify the people seeking help without by carefully doing little to identify legitimate refugees meriting protection. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has attempted to dehumanize the refugees in the public’s mind by terming the asylum seekers a “disease”. An article at the Greek Reporter explains:

ATHENS – An ongoing sweep that has taken more than 6,000 immigrants into custody in search of people in Greece unlawfully has been condemned by the human rights group Amnesty International, joining a chorus of Leftist Greek political parties and organizations who also criticized the action.

The Greek authorities must halt a mass police crackdown on irregular migrants and allow for effective access to asylum-seeking procedures to those in need of international protection,” Amnesty International said on Aug. 9, adding that it was concerned that what it called such a massive and discriminatory operation would fuel further attacks against immigrants, which are on the rise, and xenophobia in the country…

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has made a priority of going after illegal immigrants which he said were a “disease” afflicting Greece…

The Greek Council of Refugees said it understood and appreciated Greece’s right to protect its borders but said that this could not override its obligations under European and international law to respect the rights of refugees seeking political asylum…

Amnest International said the sweep, under the code name Xenios Zeus,  as being conducted without any precautions to identify refugees meriting protection from other migrants… Read more here

Posted in asylees, left-wing, right-wing, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Community rally held for refugees targeted with graffiti in Concord

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 9, 2012

A couple of hundred community residents and leaders gathered on Thursday to show support for the refugee family victimized with racist and xenophobic graffiti. An article in the Union Leader covers the rally:

CONCORD — Residents upset with an act of racist graffiti aimed at a family of Somali immigrants gathered at the scene Thursday to show support for their neighbors and condemnation for the hate crime.

Organized by New American Africans, a support group founded and led by immigrants, the rally drew a couple of hundred community leaders and residents to the street outside the family’s Thompson Street home…

Participants sang traditional songs and a handful of speakers told the family that the incident does not reflect the larger community.

The targeted family, a married couple and seven children aged 2-15, asked that their names not be used. The mother said the expressions of support have changed fear to hope.

“I was thinking about the people, they don’t know me, they don’t like me or some thing like that,” she said. “But today after I saw a lot of people in here and they say they are so sorry, I feel happy for now.”

Gov. John Lynch was direct in his words, directed to the victims, telling them he was disgusted, appalled and angry.

“I want your family to know this was an isolated incident, it does not reflect who we are,” Lynch said. “You are part of our family and you will get all the love and support we give all our neighbors in New Hampshire.”

Lynch called for prosecution of the responsible parties “to the fullest extent of the law.”

Rally participants said they hoped their presence would counter feelings of people who had been targets… Read more here

Posted in hate crimes, New Hampshire, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Racist graffiti once again targets an African family at their home in Concord

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 8, 2012

Last September someone scrawled racist, xenophobic graffiti on three Concord refugee family homes in the South End. A community rally was held in support of the families. Now, in a repeat of the malicious harassment, a Somali refugee woman found a message scrawled on several lines of siding underneath her bedroom window describing the family as subhuman. Community members will once again gather to show of support for the refugees and to discourage overt acts like the graffiti, as well as the more common subtle hostility toward immigrants. An article at the Concord Monitor documents the incident:

As she pulled out of her Thompson Street driveway early Sunday morning to go to her job as a housekeeper, the woman quickly spotted it: a message in black permanent marker, scrawled on several lines of siding underneath her bedroom window.

She stopped the car and went back into the house to get her husband and children. The woman, who is originally from Somalia and can’t read or write English, said her children read her the message: “We can not coexist with third world scum,” it began.

“I was not surprised,” the woman, who asked not to be identified, said yesterday evening, standing in her driveway. “I knew it was something bad that they wrote.”

The incident marks the second time in a year that xenophobic graffiti has defaced homes of African families in the South End. In September, graffiti written in black marker appeared on the homes of three refugee families on Perley and Downing streets, with each message describing the families as “subhumans” who weren’t wanted in the community…

“We can not coexist with third world scum,” the message read. “The primitive beasts like those in this house are to blame for the crimes we now suffer. Love your legals, deport the rest.”

O’Malley said the family who lives in the Thompson Street home is here legally and has had no problems with the police. Whoever wrote the graffiti “had no motives we’re aware of, other than just pure racism,” he said.

“We have concerns about this because it clearly is targeting a family,” O’Malley said. “It seems like it’s thought out.”…

The police are asking anyone with information about the graffiti to call the department at 225-8600. Tips may also be shared anonymously with the Concord Regional Crimeline by calling 226-3100, by visiting, or by texting TIP234 and sending a message to CRIMES… Read more here

Posted in New Hampshire, police, Somali, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

African refugees stabbed in presumed hate attack in Tel Aviv

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 1, 2012

African migrants have again come under attack in Israel. An attacker stabbed three Eritrean men in a south Tel Aviv video store yesterday. An article at the South African publication Times Live has the details:

An attacker stabbed three Eritrean men in a south Tel Aviv video store on Tuesday in what police said they were initially treating as a racist attack.

“All three people that were stabbed were taken to hospital with light to moderate injuries,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.

“A suspect who was in the video shop at the time fled the scene. Police are searching for him.”

He did not give a physical description of the suspect, adding that police were currently examining CCTV footage and interviewing witnesses.

An eyewitness told an AFP photographer that the assailant was of Israeli appearance.

Rosenfeld said that while not ruling out other motives the main police avenue of investigation was that it was a hate crime.

“That’s the main direction, as all three of them were stabbed,” he said. “If it had been just one of them stabbed it could have been an argument between them.”… Read more here

Posted in hate crimes, right-wing, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Refugees in Jerusalem firebombed again

Posted by Christopher Coen on July 12, 2012

Its happened again. Someone had fire bombed an Eritrean refugee couple’s apartment in Jerusalem in the middle of the night. The 32-year old man suffered second-degree burns over 20 percent of his body. Last month someone firebombed an apartment in Jerusalem at 3am in the morning in which ten Eritrean asylum seekers slept. In late April and early May of this year assailants firebombed several homes and a kindergarten in Tel Aviv. Then in May, a mob rampaged through south Tel Aviv attacking black people at random. An article in +972 Mag details the latest attack:

The apartment of an Eritrean couple in Jerusalem went up in flames last night, in what looks like another arson attack. Haaretz reports that at around 3 a.m., the man and the woman, who is seven months pregnant, awoke and tried to stamp out the fire with their feet. There are times when events are so horrible, it’s hard to find any words and easy to feel paralyzed with misery.

The Hebrew Haaretz story adds that the 32-year old man suffered second-degree burns over 20 percent of his body. And because of the woman’s advanced pregnancy, both will be kept in the hospital for some time. Given recent stories about the high rate of infections in Israeli hospitals, this puts their fetus at risk. If, god forbid, anything happens, will the perpetrators be charged with that crime too? That is, if they are ever found?

Does anyone know what a second-degree burn feels like? … Read more here

Posted in right-wing, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


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